Dark Horse have got together with France’s Moebius Productions to release the first complete English translation of Moebius’s ambitious story. It’s a massive book, reproducing the artwork at the European album size and presenting it in a hardback volume that deservedly suits the material.
Starting life as a commission for the Citroen car company, the initial short story seeded a work on a grand scale that was heavily influenced by modern society’s increasing detachment from the natural world. Its heroes, Stel and Atan, are interstellar repairmen, androgynous in appearance, living everyday lives where synthetic food is the norm and regular organ transplants are seen as essential for remaining healthy. It’s only when they arrive on the world of Edena, cut off from their past existence and its inherent toxicity, that they begin to change. Their bodies revert from an asexual standard to reveal one of them to be male and the other female, something they’d never even considered before, and with that the natural feelings brought about by the release of hormones. Forced to survive in this paradise world, they discover naturally growing food and begin to adapt in order to live, but this Eden has a more sinister side, shielded by a community even more repressed and inward looking than the one they’ve left behind.
Moebius is a huge influence on comic creators around the globe, and rightly so. His story’s are beautifully composed and drawn, avoiding over-complicated linework in favour of simple, unfussy drawings that boil the panel down to its essence without losing any of the motion, emotion or scenic clout. This is used to striking effect with Stel and Atan’s transformation, utterly altering their composition, the flow of the story, and your own perceptions as the pages turn.
The story is often ambiguous, but deliberately so. Introductory pieces to the whole book and to each chapter share Moebius’s thought process and rationale for doing this, and rather than make it confusing or difficult the effect allows for a more involving story as you the reader are invited to interpret rather than have every notion and outcome explained.
Moebius’s work, coupled with Dark Horse’s presentation, make this a real treasure trove of a book, and certainly one that should be sitting on the bookshelves of anyone who is a fan of the genre.
And if you liked that: A companion volume, The Art Of Edena, will be available soon